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“Women Talking is an eloquent exploration of how a group mind coalesces — as a kind of vision that comes in fits and starts, arguments and digression — to finally arrive at a decision. Or, read another way, it’s a compelling examination of the opposing voices in our own heads as we wrestle with impossible choices between the known and the unknown. What’s most compelling about Toews’ novel is its lack of sensationalism and how it shows real people struggling through the aftermath of devastating violence. Grounded in a religious culture where suffering and obedience are an expectation, these women grapple with uneasy answers to what’s best for themselves and their children. Women Talking is the quiet, startling story of coming to terms with how, or if, we save ourselves.”Steve Mitchell,
“This powerful, slim novel is based on a real story of a town of deeply religious families who find that their women are being preyed on by a group of the village men. The women (and girls) finally speak out and the men are "arrested" by the locals but only after one of the women attempts to harm the men are the actual authorities contacted. The village men (who are not implicated) get together to post the bail for the offending men and announce that the women must forgive the rapists. The women meet to decide how they will react, asking the local teacher to write their words down as they are unable to read or write themselves. The discussion is lively and both heartbreaking and heartwarming. This audio will linger with you long after you've finished the last sentence...”Genavieve,
Books & Company
A transformative and necessary work--as completely unexpected as it is inspired--by the award-winning author of the bestselling novels All My Puny Sorrows and A Complicated Kindness. Based on actual events that happened between 2005 and 2009 in a remote Mennonite community where more than 100 girls and women were drugged unconscious and assaulted in the night by what they were told (by the men of the colony) were "ghosts" or "demons," Miriam Toews' bold and affecting novel Women Talking is an imagined response to these real events. The novel takes place over forty-eight hours, as eight women gather in secret in a neighbour's barn while the men are in a nearby town posting bail for the attackers. They have come together to debate, on behalf of all the women and children in the community, whether to stay or leave before the men return. Taking minutes is the one man trusted and invited by the women to witness the conversation--a former outcast whose own surprising story is revealed as the women speak. By turns poignant, witty, acerbic, bitter, tender, devastating, and heartbreaking, the voices in this extraordinary novel are unforgettable. Toews has chosen to focus the novel tightly on a particular time and place, and yet it contains within its 48 hours and setting inside a hayloft an entire vast universe of thinking and feeling about the experience of women (and therefore men, too) in our contemporary world. In a word: astonishing.